8.30.2013

As She Wakes

There's an ache to the woodland air
these days, as if the wind is mourning
the deathly flames that blossom on the trees,
the brittle aging of its trembling playmates,

a deep sigh of the forest that cuts to her heart.
The leaves murmur beneath her feet,
chatter at her from the rustling treetops,
catch weakly at her hair as if to say, remember--

do you--do you--remember?
She does.
She knows this path like a well-worn dream,
though the trees have thickened many times
since brighter eyes and quicker limbs

last wandered through this long-beloved place.
Her steps are sure and steady as they always were,
but she fears she's lost her welcome here
somewhere between the years:

she kneels, finds the shallow creekbed choked
with rotting sticks and cold wet grass,
and grieves for a time when it ran swift and free,
when tadpoles played in the clear water

and slender flowers swayed by its muddy banks--
here frogs peeped shyly from weedy shadows,
and fishes sang and white moths danced in twilight
and the woodland sprites crept out at afternoon

but all is still and silent now, hidden from her face.
The soft dirt stains her cheeks
as she raises a hand to cover her eyes,
smelling of slow earth and lingering decay.

One fallen branch reaches to caress her ankle,
its fragile arms twined and tangled like careless vines,
some tree's patient imitation of a proud buck's crown.
The child in her would hold it to her own temple,

would wait and wonder how the world
looks different through the creature's eyes,
but the years have taught her to know her own skin,
and so. She breathes deep of the aching air

and retraces her steps like climbing from a dream,
holding the branch till she stands at the forest's edge,
the wooden antlers twisting wearily around her fingers
and crumbling to dust in the morning light.

Felling Day

cut down before its time,
the tree behind my house shriveled dry
from lightning, not age.

(sun and rain breathe life to
all creatures in the forest, but then
fire won't discriminate, either.)

watch closely, all slender saplings
waiting to reach the sky:

unroughened hands must take and build,
and youthful feet must run
while blood still animates your bones.
your face may wash stone-cold
before the skin has time to sag.

8.26.2013

Promise

we say ‘forever’:
ignored, eternity’s breadth
and our own weak hands.

Respite

This is winter’s crawl.
This is the slow breathing of the sky,
the languid drifting of the snow.
This is the old tree’s creaking,
the great bear’s dreams,
the river’s frozen rest.
This is the interruption of motion
and the lullaby of cold,
a lingering pause for us to learn
of the brief ecstasy of numbness.

8.25.2013

Worms, Worms, Worms (a parody in collaboration)

I shut my eyes and all the worms drop dead.

When the world was worm-luscious,
I took the worm less traveled by
beside the worm chickens.
Let us go then, you and I,
when the worm is spread against the sky.

And now, like am'rous worms of prey,
in the room the worms come and go,
talking of Michaelangelo.

(The Chinese worm and the British worm:
My vegetable worm should grow
vaster than empires and more slow.)

And I have known the worms already, known them all--
The worms that fix you in a formulated phrase.
O my Luve is like a red, red worm,
The yellow worm that rubs its back upon the window panes.

Spit in my face, you worms.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet
and somehow
the;
              w
                       o
                                    r
                           m

Out of the ash I rise with my red hair
and I eat worms like air.

--
murdering featuring poems by: Billy Collins, e.e. cummings, John Donne, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Andrew Marvell, Sylvia Plath, Kurt Vonnegut, and William Carlos Williams

written by: Davina Lee, Emmie Moffitt, Julia Stevens, and Haleigh Swansen